The opportunist: The political life of Oswald Pirow, 1915-1959

  • David Katz Stellenbosch University


Finding a mainstream South African publisher for an academic work on South
African history is a daunting prospect for an author. Doing so when it involves a niche
topic on an obscure personality in a forgotten period of South African history can be
even more disheartening. Praise for Protea Book House, who backing Mouton, have
provided a mainstream publishing vehicle to bring a fascinating period of our history
back into the public domain. Works such as The opportunist: The political Life of
Oswald Pirow, 1915–1959 might otherwise have remained inaccessible to the general
public, either residing in the rarefied atmosphere of academia or gathering dust on a
shelf in a university library as an academic print. The hard truth is that well-researched,
peer-reviewed and skilfully written works of history do not necessarily translate into
bestsellers, and in most cases, the opposite is true. Publishers with a keen eye on their
bottom-line have a set of criteria designed to maximise profit, which often clashes with
the lofty standards demanded by academia. For that reason, it is always welcome when
a work such as this book by Mouton manages to bridge the academic–popularist divide.


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How to Cite
Katz, D. (2021). The opportunist: The political life of Oswald Pirow, 1915-1959. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 49(1), 123-126.
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